Mother of dog attack victim speaks out

November 29, 2008 5:54:11 AM PST
A young boy is spending another night in a hospital after he was attacked by dogs while riding his bike. And now, that boy's mother is speaking, telling Eyewitness News that she's having a hard time coping with nearly losing her son. She and neighbors had been worried about the animals. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

You could tell that Justin Bowers is finally doing better because the eight-year-old is eating ice cream in his hospital bed, but it was a far different scene on Wednesday, when the little boy was mauled by two pit bulls in Montgomery County.

Breanna Mejia-Hearne was in Killeen, Texas, when she got the call that her son was in terrible shape. The five hour drive to Memorial Hermann hospital seemed like days.

"He will have to have skin grafts on his leg to repair those," she said of Justin. "He will have to go through lots of physical therapy, and that's going to be hard on him."

Animal control officers caught and quarantined the dogs shortly after the attack, much to the relief of neighbors.

"I can breathe a lot free-er, and I'm sure there are a lot of people in this area who do," said neighbor Charles Winslett.

Charles Winslett says the dogs; owners didn't live in the house full time, leaving many neighbors nervous that the pit bulls would get out and harm someone, in Justin's case, tearing apart his shin, and puncturing an arm.

"If you can't be responsible, then maybe you shouldn't have pets," said Mejia-Hearne.

Mejia-Hearne says her son is eager to recover from his injuries so he can get back to doing what he loves -- playing football. She's just grateful that he's going to be alright.

"I'm thankful that he will be OK," she said. "It's going to be a long road, and his dad and I are going to be there with him, side by side," she said.

Justin is expected to be in the hospital for at least another week and he'll most likely undergo skin grafts.

According to a recent 20-year study on dog bites by the Centers for Disease Control, pit bulls accounted for about one-third of deadly dog attacks in the United States. The study found 12 people die each year from dog attacks from all breeds. That's out of close to 4.7 million bites.

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